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In Christ Or In Adam
1 Cor 15:18-24
  18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied. 20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. 21 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.  22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming, NASU

Introduction
This morning I want to make a contrast on the realities of Being In Christ, or being In Adam. I want use this hula hoop to help me illustrate my point. I want to designate this circle as being Christ, and If I am in Christ I will have step into a relationship with Him. When I a person does that they may claim the benefits of being in Christ. If not they are still in Adam.

In the KJV the phrase "In Christ appears 77 times. In the NASB The phrase appears 90 times. So for the sake of discussion we can readily say the phrase, "In Christ," appears more than 75 times in the Bible. I want to call attention to this phrase, and the distinctions it brings to the believer. I believe Jesus makes a very significant difference. Lee Strobel calls attention to the follow uniqueness of Christ.

Illustration Lee Strobel
Someone once noted that other religious leaders say, "Follow me and I'll show you how to find truth," but Jesus says, "I am the truth."Other religious leaders say, "Follow me and I'll show you the way to salvation," but Jesus says, "I am the way to salvation."

Other religious leaders say, "Follow me and I'll show you how to become enlightened," but Jesus says, "I am the light of the world."

Other religious leaders say, "Follow me and I'll show you many doors that lead to God," but Jesus says, "I am the door," "So follow Me."

Do you see the difference? For a long time people have tried to harmonize the various religions of the world, but there are drastic and irreconcilable differences between Christianity and other belief systems.


1. In Adam There Is Death. 1 Cor 15:22a
For as in Adam all die,. . . NASU

  A. All Human Beings Are . . Born To Die In Adam.
1 Cor 15:22a For as in Adam all die, . . ."

  B. All Human Beings Are . . Burdened By Death. Rom.5:12
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men,because all sinned -- NASU

Illustration
Almost every week we are surprised by someone dying. This week a former baseball player for the St. Louis Cardinals, now a minor league coach for the Kansas City Royals died after being hit by a foul ball. Never heard of that before, but death came to him in a strange manner. Friday night four men were killed as two helicopters collided in Phoenix Arizona.

Application

In Adam death is a part of life and in Adam we all die a physical death. In Christ we do not have to die a spiritual death.


2. In Christ There Is . . Life. 1 Cor 15:22b
". . . so also in Christ all will be made alive.

  A. In Christ All Are Given Eternal Life. Rom 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. NASU

  B. In Christ There Is Life. 1 Cor 15:19-21
19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied. 20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. 21 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.

Illustration
Stuart Hamlin wrote country and western songs. Before he got saved he wrote a song titled "I won't go hunting with you Jake but I'll go chasing women"

Stuart got saved in a Billy Graham Crusade. He had a local television program sponsored by a beer company. He asked out of his contract and they refused. So he just told the audience "I go saved and quit drinking this stuff, and I would not recommend it to anyone. The beer company released him from his contract.

About six months after he got saved he ran into John Wayne. He said "Stuart you cost me some money I bet you wouldn't last six months". Stuart said "it is no secret what God can do". John Wayne said that sounds like a good song title and Stuart went home that night set down at the piano and the grandfather's clock sounded and Stuart wrote the song that starts with the words The chimes of time ring out the news another day is through, someone slipped and fell was that someone you? The chorus repeats "It is no secret what God can do."

Application

You see his life was changed by the power of God.

  Rev 14:3 And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one could learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been purchased from the earth.

Are you in Adam or in Christ?


3. In Christ The Believer Receives Newness Of Life. 2 Cor 5:17
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. NASU

  A. This Life Is For . . Anyone. 5:17a
Therefore if anyone is in Christ. . ."

B. This Life Is An . . Artistic. 5:17b
". . . he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

    1. What Does God Want To Do With You?
        a.     This Week My Grand Children Have Been With Us, and The Boys Sleep on Sleeping Bags In The Fellowship Hall.
        b.    A Man was sleeping on the grounds just outside the churches' back door.      
        c. Drugs, Alcohol, sex, laziness, I can't help myself. Theological Word for that ---------------- HOGWASH

Illustration Joel Smith Sermon Central
I freed Germany from the stupid and degrading fallacies of conscience and morality. …We will train young people before whom the world will tremble. I want young people capable of violence - imperious, relentless and cruel. Adolph Hitler posted at Auschwitz quoted in Can Man Live Without God by Ravi Zacharias, p. 23


Illustration Peter Larson, Why The Manger," because it was" dark, cold and dirty.
A few weeks ago I picked up the magazine and I read the story of Anne Rice.

Anne Rice is a famous writer and novelist. Her books have sold 50 million copies, all over the world. Most of her books deal with the occult and with vampires. She's the author of "Interview with a Vampire,"and "Queen of the Damned." And some of her books have been turned into movies.

In this magazine article, however, it told the story of her life, how her mother died when she was still very young, and how she grew up afraid of the dark. Then she got married and gave birth to a baby girl and named her Michelle. But when the child was just a few years old she died of leukemia. Anne Rice began drinking heavily, and she sank into depression. And she began writing about vampires, because vampires are able to live forever - the possess the secret of eternal life.

Her novels brought her wealth and fame, and Anne Rice bought a big mansion in New Orleans , and entertained by holding big parties. But then, a strange thing happened. Ann Rice began reading the Bible and Christian books. And even though she hadn't been to church since she was a little girl, she felt a strange longing to take communion. And finally, in 1998, she became a believer in Jesus Christ. This is how Ann Rice describes it in her own words, she says: "The Lord came looking for me. Everywhere I turned, I found images of the Lord and his love."

And then, three years ago, Ann Rice was sitting in church. And she decided, that she would no longer write about vampires. Describing that moment, she says: "I was in church, talking to the Lord, saying, "I want everything I do to be for you. Then It hit me: It will be for you. All of it. Every Word ."

So in her latest novel , Anne Rice wrote a book about the life of Jesus called " Christ the Lord " and that book was published in December. When that book came out, it rocked the publishing world. It was hard to believe that Anne Rice, the queen of the vampires, had become a believer in Jesus Christ. But you see, that should not surprise us.

Because Jesus is always born in the manger , born into hearts that are dark, cold and dirty.

Application

In Christ The Believer Receives Newness Of Life.


4. In Christ Believers Are Not Condemned. Rom 8:1
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. NASU

  A. Note The . . Present Position Of Being In Christ. 8:1a
"Therefore there is now no condemnation . . ."
  B. Note The Personal Presence Of Being In Christ. 8:1b
". . . for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Illustration
There is a picture of a chess game hanging in Paris. On one side of the painting is the Devil, and on the other side is a lad about sixteen years of age. They are playing chess. The Devil has a leering, triumphant expression on his face. He has just licked this boy at chess, and the boy is sitting there with his head bowed and big tears trickling down his cheeks. The Devil has just won in the game of life over this lad. He has no strength, he has no way out, and he has given up. The title of the picture is "Check Mate". He had him.

A famous chess player came through one day. He looked at the painting. He felt sorry for the boy and he hated the looks of the Devil. He began to study the board where the men were placed, and all of a sudden he shouted: "Son, I have found a move, one move . . . if you will make that move you can lick the Devil." He forgot himself, he forgot it was a painting-he was so engrossed in it.

We see all the men of chess in the game of life there, and in some of our lives it seems the Devil has almost got us. We look at the whole world picture ... it seems dark at times with its little bright intervals, but by and large the basic issues have not changed, in spite of the recent smiles on both sides of the Iron Curtain. We see the shadow of the hydrogen bomb and all the vast and terrible weapons being created behind scientific laboratories, and, as we look into the future of the next two or three generations, it seems that we are almost ready to say "Check Mate."

But I believe there is One looking down from above who looks upon the board and says to you and me: There is a move, there is one move that you can make, and you can win! That move is toward Jesus Christ. You can make that move today in your own souls

Application

Do You Feel Powerless?

Do You Feel Useless?

Do You Feel Condemned?

In Christ Believers Are Not Condemned.